The Department of Natural Resources is encouraging private well owners in parts of Oconto and Shawano counties to have tests done for arsenic.
This comes after high arsenic levels were found in water samples from several private wells.
The areas most likely to be affected in Shawano County include the towns of Angelica, Maple Grove, Green Valley, Hartland and Lessor. In Oconto County, residents in the towns of Oconto Falls, Morgan, Chase, Stiles and Abrams are encouraged to test their wells.
Arsenic is a natural element found in soil and bedrock throughout the state. Under certain conditions, arsenic can be released into groundwater and enter water wells.
Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water is known to increase risks of skin, bladder, lung, liver, colon, and kidney cancer. Other health effects may include blood vessel damage, high blood pressure, nerve damage, anemia, stomach upsets, diabetes, and skin changes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Residents in the affected communities can also contact their local health department if they have concerns about arsenic in their drinking water. In Oconto County, residents should call the Oconto County Public Health Department at (920) 834-7000. In Shawano County, residents should contact the Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department at (715) 726-4808 with questions, or to obtain a water test kit.
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